ITU treaty proposals could kill internet innovation

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ITU treaty proposals could kill internet innovation

John C. Tanner  |   June 21, 2012
telecomasia.net
An upcoming plan to revise an international telecoms treaty could restrict or even kill internet innovation unless telecoms players engage with government representatives renegotiating the treaty.
  
That was the warning from Ambassador David Gross, partner at Wiley & Rein, who kicked off the CommunicAsia2012 Summit Visionary Addresses on Wednesday. He urged governments and regulators not to create telecoms and ICT rules so inflexible that they can't account for future innovation and growth.
 
Gross argued that the rate of change in the telecoms sector Ð and the subsequent socioeconomic impact Ð is so fast that it's impossible to predict what the next big development will be. "Governments need to create policies that facilitate innovation without predetermined outcomes," he said.
 
This, he added, is particularly true of the upcoming ITU World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) this December in Dubai, which is intended to update the 1988 International Telecommunication Regulations (ITR) treaty to account for technologies that barely existed at the time, particularly internet services.
 
The problem, Gross said, is that participation will be limited to representatives of national governments, not telecoms players, and a number of proposals have been put forth that will put the internet under much more restrictive regulation than it is now.
 
"Proposals have been put forward that would require the ITU to decide on new technologies for the internet, to regulate backbone costs and termination charges for data traffic, roaming charges and even peering," Gross said.
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